Kings William of Orange and James II both were scoundrels
Published 12/07/2016 | 00:00
The 12th of July celebrations commemorate the victory of the Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690. I wish both sides had lost!
The Catholic Irish owed King James II no allegiance, and the Protestant Irish should not have been supporting treason against their king, whose daughter was married to King Billy, for goodness sake. Not only that, but the Pope of that time (whom the Protestants hated) was supporting King Billy.
It was a squalid terrorist affair played out on the soil of poor Ireland, which led to centuries of brutal anti-Catholic oppression, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
And to compound the injury, the British powers that be named this period the Glorious Revolution. If people want to find appropriate language to say something about 1690, they should go back about 100 earlier to when 'Romeo and Juliet' was written and borrow The Bard's immortal words, "A plague on both your houses" - on both King James II and King Billy, scoundrels both.
Now there's an Englishman whom both Protestants and Catholics can celebrate - Shakespeare. Forget the other two terrorists, stick with a great Englishman.
Full disclosure: even though I am a native of Fermanagh and even though I know the history and culture well, I've never quite understood the mania for marching/parading in Northern Ireland.
And, above all, it is impossible to understand the Orange Order insisting on marching in poor Catholic areas where they are not wanted. How can rational people understand that without seeing it as a desire to assert Protestant dominance and supremacy?
One thing is sure: if Catholic nationalists and republicans insisted on marching through all-Protestant areas, the Irish National Caucus would be the very first to oppose it.
Fr Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus, Capitol Hill
New threat of militarisation
Commemorating the soldiers who died in World War I would be appropriate if it were done appropriately. In Ireland, we commemorate those Irish people who died in the Great Famine, and this is appropriate because the then government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland bore significant responsibility for many of the famine deaths due its negligence.
The numbers of people killed in World War I on all sides was on a similar scale to the numbers who died in the Irish Great Famine, and included up to 50,000 Irishmen. Their deaths were neither heroic nor justified. Even the term 'lions led by donkeys' is inaccurate on several counts. The soldiers who fought in World War I were more like sheep being led to their slaughter, and while there were some acts of heroism by soldiers attempting to save the lives of their comrades, the reality is that most soldiers fought or died in conditions of great misery and terror.
The unjustified glorification and heroism that is now being applied to those who died in this useless war is part of a campaign of militarism that may well lead to irresponsible future European or world wars that could make World War I seem like a minor skirmish.
Veterans for Peace Ireland, Newtown, Castletroy, Limerick
High time for the hard sell
Top Government delegates should be out there selling Ireland as never before, inviting foreign investment and companies to come here, while other officials set up the facilities for this to happen.
Still keeping friendly with Britain, we are now in a challenging position. Before the reverberations of Brexit left the air, the British government were in action, first releasing £150bn into the lending market for house-buyers and businesses as an economic stimulus to boost investment and spending. Cuts are also promised in interest and tax rates, including corporation tax. With sterling striking a new low, there is already an exodus of Irish bargain hunters crossing the border into the North.
The authorities can't be blind to the obvious opportunities. It is an ill wind that doesn't blow well for some. Ireland has now a magnetic draw for Europeans, we are a peaceful country with an attractive 12.5pc corporation tax and are now the only English-speaking member of the EU, an island state right on the periphery of the market. Time our new Government pulled up their socks, let our presence be felt by mounting a real economic attack that would encourage all our industries to flourish and reap the potential rewards.
Thurles, Co Tipperary
Bees are a vital part of food chain
Among the EU rules and regulations is the one for a special habitat for the solitary bee. It got me thinking on bees, now in mid-summer, when they are at their busiest. There are three main species in Ireland and the UK -solitary, honey and bumble bees.
We can forget how bees are important to our survival. Albert Einstein figured that if bees disappeared off the Earth, humans would have four years left to live. It works alone in its foraging, but what good work it does, with millions of them making honey and royal jelly.
More than 30pc of what we eat and drink is dependent on them pollinating plants. In the wild it is for themselves, but commercially we humans rob them for our benefit.
A hive divides when it gets too big and scouts are sent out to find a new location. This can take days. They swarm and leave the nest with an old or new queen. A bee will do a dance or routine showing the others in the hive the direction and distance to a new food source. Bee-keepers say they are always learning something new about them.
In hot weather, they use water to cool the hive via fanning their wings to evaporate the droplets. They see ultra-violet light to help them zoom in on the pollen, etc. They can even have their addictions. In a brewery in the US, they had a problem with bees visiting one of their vats and getting drunk on the alcohol liquid as it fermented. They were found dazed and inebriated by the vats (hic!).
Bee-keeping arrived in Ireland with the Celts. Now, there are couple of hundred commercial and hobby bee-keepers. But bee numbers are declining because of diseases and from very poor weather conditions some years, with less pollen and nectar available.
Bullfighting is just barbaric
The recent tragic spectacle of a young bullfighter being gored to death brings this barbaric practice, yet again, into sharp focus. Being seen by a live TV audience magnified the horror of the event even more.
Ernest Hemingway once described bullfighting as an 'art'. An art that arouses the primal instincts of some and the repulsion of many more. If 40,000 bulls tortured and killed each year in the name of 'sport' isn't reason enough to end this barbaric bloodfest, how can the brutal death of a bullfighter be seen as entertainment?